Friday, October 20, 2006

Digital photography: The next big thing?

In recent times I have been observing the digital photography business. The fast growth of internet and mobile network growth is fuelling the photography business big time. About ten years before the Personal Computer (PC) was the only avenue for digital photos but today everything is revolving around internet. According to statistics, there would be roughly 650 million digital photographs would be available by the year 2009. This huge growth will open up lot of opportunities for camera manufactures (including cam-phones), online photo portals and print-media.

Unlike any other businesses, digital photography got to do more with people’s emotions. People feel happy when they share these digital photographs in electronic or print format with friends and families. Online portals (Which include big players like Yahoo photos, Google picasa) offer end-to-end photo solutions like editing, sharing and printing are on-demand. Apart from big players lot of small players are entering into this segment. One of the recent success is Snapfish (http://www.snapfish.com/) was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in the year 2005. Snapfish is pretty good success in the US but for a long time I couldn’t see any such portals in India.

Recently I came across 'Snapgalaxy' (http://www.snapgalaxy.com) and their Indian version (http://www.snapgalaxy.in) proving the photo print service India. Promoted by NRIs, this portal trying to bridge the ‘emotional’ gap between families. They have priced the online print cost at Rs.4.80 per photo (For 4”x6” size) which sounds pretty reasonable compared to Rs.7 charged by other vendors like GK vale in Bangalore. I have not yet used their service but the website looks interesting. Following are some of the salient features provided by Snapgalaxy.
  1. This service is started with Indians in mind that includes NRI and local Indian population.
  2. Users in India can order digital prints from SnapGalaxy.in and they will be delivered at their doorsteps. Additionally they can also ship prints to any part of the world.
  3. Non-resident Indians' can ship digital prints to their family and friends in India using SnapGalaxy.com. They can also order prints for themselves.
  4. Recipients in India and USA have local shipping option available while those in other countries will have to use International shipping option.

Apart from online photo printing, the digital photography can create significant job opportunity in India. For example Hewlett-Packard has created a pilot project in Kuppam village in Andra-pradesh (http://www.kupnet.org/) which is popularly known as Kuppam ‘i-Community’. As one of the i-Community initiative, house-wives of farmers are trained to become home entrepreneurs by providing them a digital photography kit. This kit consists of a digital camera, photo-smart printer and solar battery charger. These ladies are also provided necessary training in taking digital photos and using the printer. For more details please visit the link:

http://www.kupnet.org/i-community/village-photographers/.

Unlike the traditional photography (Which requires complex photo processing lab and huge initial investment) the digital photography is making the photography much easier and empowering people. From hobby to online photo sharing to employment generation, digital photography has got a very long value chain and growing in a very rapid phase. This makes me feel it is the ‘next-big-thing’.

3 comments:

manaveeyam said...

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Vikas said...

Hi,

Very interesting bit on the HP initiative in AP. You should have a look at some other photo finishing sites based out of India, especially the Indian version of Kodak Gallery and itasveer.com

Jayakumar Balasubramanian said...

Thanks for your comments Vikas! I need to explore more on the Indian photo portals.